We face two big problems right now – the economic issues created by the financial crash of 2008 which is being made worse by the austerity agenda of the Condem coalition, and the twinned problems of climate change and peak oil.
The 1 million green jobs plan would work towards tackling both of these problems, by creating an economic stimulus which is focused entirely on reducing our carbon emissions and reliance on fossil fuels.
They have estimated a net cost of creating these jobs to be £18bn per year – a small amount compared to the £120bn of tax that gets dodged each year, or the hundreds of billions that have been poured into the banking system.
At the same time as creating economic growth and directly providing jobs, this would work towards making the UK a sustainable, zero-carbon economy – an aim that we must meet if we are to prevent catastrophic climate change and reduce our dependence on an oil supply whose production peaked in 2005.
In Birmingham, we could create jobs in the construction industry, as we strive to make our housing stock environmentally efficient. Much of Birmingham’s housing is solid wall, and would need external insulation systems to bring it up to the insulation standards that can be achieved with cavity walls. With rapidly rising fuel prices, government investment in our council houses could also help people who are likely to be on lower incomes to move out of fuel poverty. Grants could be given to help elderly and vulnerable adults in housing association or private housing to insulate their homes.
We could also see jobs being created in the manufacturing industry, building and supplying the equipment that will be needed to create renewable energy systems, such as wind turbines or tidal barrage generation. We might see a revival of the once huge bicycle manufacturing sector, if money is spent to build cycling infrastructure and encourage people to swap their car for a bike.
The Climate Caravan will be in Birmingham on Thursday 15th May, promoting 1 million climate jobs. Go along to one of their events to find out more about this alternative:
11.00am to 12.30pm Prices’ Square, Northfield, as guests of Northfield Eco-Centre
1.00pm to 5.00pm Birmingham Cathedral on Temple Row, Birmingham B3.
7.00pm Public meeting in the Council House – (committee Rooms 3 and 4) Victoria Square, Birmingham, to hear local and national speakers from a number of campaigns.